8 Steps to Trade Show Exhibitor Success

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Whether you’re a first time Trade Show Exhibitor, or a seasoned professional  attending multiple trade shows every year, the experience can be both fun and exhausting. Attracting attendees to your booth, then sorting out the qualified prospects will ‘make or break’ the experience.

You’re making a significant investment in being a trade show exhibitor so be sure you manage the process effectively after the event. Even the best looking booth won’t bring in business unless you follow through and take action on the connections you make.

8 Steps to Trade Show Exhibitor Success

1) Pre-Show Marketing

Let the attendees know you’re there and where to find you. Obtain a list of the attendees weeks before the show from the trade show facilitator so you can communicate with them before they arrive. Some effective methods of reaching attendees are email, direct mail, social media, and mentions on your website.

2) Set Goals

First you have to understand why you’re exhibiting. Most will say ‘to get sales’ but you need a more defined goal to make the goal actionable. Do you want to collect leads to pass on to your sales department for follow up? Do you want to make the sale on the spot? Maybe you’re there just for brand recognition in a specific industry.

3) Evaluate your Lead Collection Method

Simply displaying a fish bowl to collect business cards for a prize is not an effective lead collection method. All you learn is that they want a prize. Prizes are good, but be sure to have people fill out a short registration form to capture more information if that’s your draw. Not all attendees are prospects so focus on lead quality, not counts.

Ask for type of business, product interest, purchasing authority, contact info, etc.. Whether you’re using an electronic lead management system or a simple printed follow up form, include a limited number of qualifiers (hot lead, send salesperson, mail literature) to the form to get them in the correct follow up bucket.

4) Create a Winning Trade Show Booth

A free standing floor graphic wall provides an 8’ or 10’ backdrop to attract attention and tell your story. A less expensive option is to use 3 or 4 free standing retractable banners next to each other to create a similar affect. Tables are usually provided to exhibitors with a blank table throw. Use this 30” x 72” space to reinforce your brand with your own Custom Table Throw.

One note here – AVOID the temptation to place the table in front of your booth separating you from your prospects. Place it along the side of your booth to keep your space open and inviting.

5) Staff Training

Choose the employees that will staff your booth carefully. Representatives must be engaging, approachable and trained to understand the goals you set for the trade show. Not all of your staff needs to be trained for answering detailed questions about the product or service, but you should have at least one person available to field the detailed questions.

Provide your staff with qualifying questions to ask during training to avoid investing too much in the time-wasters that will show up just for the SWAG.

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Also provide your staff with casual uniforms like a polo shirt with an embroidered company logo so the attendees can identify them. A visually cohesive team adds a level of professionalism and strength to your brand. Selecting a shirt color that reflects your brand adds to the booth appearance. It’s also great when your team is recognized walking through the convention because of your stand out company colors.

6) Booth Giveaways

Part of the fun of attending a trade show is gathering great giveaways from each booth. Use this to your advantage and provide thoughtful items that create a buzz at the show. You don’t need to spend a lot on these giveaways for them to be effective.

A simple Toy  can go physically viral at a show while attendees play with them and others ask, “where did you get that?” Imagine colorful toys flying around the show sporting your company logo. Items they display instead of tossing in their bag are great walking advertisements.

A simple 3” dia. button that reads “My Name is Jim” can created a buzz throughout the show. Everyone will be calling each other Jim and they want their own custom button to be part of the fun.

 

Invest in some nicer Gifts for people who give you information and qualify as a good lead. Corporate logo T-shirts, branded cell phone chargers and selfie sticks with your company logo can be the most successful gifts given to a qualified prospect.

Keep your printed handouts minimal. Attendees are walking around with an event tote bag full of business cards, branded giveaways and  brochures. Their totes are too heavy for your complete printed catalog.

7) Daily Staff Debriefing

A daily staff gathering after the exhibit hall closes provides instant insights into what worked and what didn’t. Take notes no matter how unimportant the observations might seem. Most attendee feedback is forgotten shortly after the dust settles. The feedback on what wasn’t successful will help you avoid the same mistakes next time.

Remember that you’re seeing the trade show as an exhibitor but it’s the attendee experience you want to know more about.

8) Lead Follow up System

Prepare your follow up system before you exhibit at a trade show. You need to act quickly while you’re still fresh in their minds. Remember, trade shows are exhausting and attendees visit hundreds of exhibits while at the show.  Make quick notes on the back of a business card to remind you of a discussion that will set you apart.  When you send out a speedy response with a personal note it will insure you are remembered.

  • If literature or samples were requested from your company, send a daily mailing list to the office to have that information mailed out the next day
  • If they requested a call from a salesperson make sure all follow up calls are made within one week of the show.
  • If the conversation was more detailed and an estimate was requested, prepare the estimating department for multiple requests and demand that they are expedited.

An email from your company thanking attendees for stopping at your booth and reminding them that you are acting on their request will continue the relationship. This reconnection is also an opportunity to include clickable links to your website for more information.

Following these 8 Steps to Trade Show Exhibitor Success to assist in your Preparation, Execution & Lead Follow up to assure that you realize a substantial return on your investment.

 

www.markit4events.com

Thinking Outside the BAG

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Memorial Day marks the unofficial first day of Summer. It’s time to clean up the grill, find your picnic basket, and chip the ice off the pool. Sunny days, vacations and fun times guide us all to the weekends ahead.

Conference, Trade Show and Company Meeting attendees all have a bit of Summertime daydreaming dominating their thoughts so summer months are a great opportunity to have some fun with your event bags.

The Advertising Specialty Impression Study shows that over 50% of all people in the US own a promotional bag and each printed brand on the bag is viewed more than 5700 times during the lifetime of the bag. That makes bags the king of all promotional products in effectiveness.

Throughout the year, our most requested bags for Conferences are messenger bags and briefcases but in Summer you can add some fun to your business bags by adding color.

A more non-conventional (pun totally intended) Convention Bag choice may lead to an even more memorable experience for your attendees. Try mixing it up by giving them a Cooler Bag . Tablets and printed meeting handouts still fit nicely.

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Duffel Bags and Backpacks also fit into the category of fun items they can use during their Summer activities.

For 10 years our company has provided registration bags for a conference of 4300 Oracle Users. Every year we attend the conference and the overwhelming response from the attendees is that they remember the year they received backpacks instead of messenger bags.

Make it personal. This Summer give them a bag sporting your brand that will go along with them while creating memories with their families and friends. Who knows, your logo might make it into a few Facebook selfies and go viral.

Social Blue Bird Seeded in Promotional Products

 

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According to legend, eBay was started as a way to locate PEZ dispensers?

Another startup seeded in promotional products is Twitter. When this early bird was still in it’s nest, many other dot coms were closing their virtual doors.

When Twitter was beginning as a simple social texting platform in 2006, an employee named Noah Glass was at a party called “Valleyscwhag Hoedown” in San Francisco. With all the failed startups, there was plenty of unused swag, so the idea was to gather and gift their dead branded merchandise to the party-goers.

Odeo was one of the flailing startups represented at the party, and also happened to be the corporate parent to a little blue bird we’d all come to know as Twitter.

As the story goes, Glass shared Twitter with Om Malik, a popular tech blogger, who tweeted “looking 4 food,” and then blogged about Twitter the next day and that little bird took flight.

When done successfully, branded merchandise is the strongest marketing tool companies can use to connect with their customers. These days there’s hardly a website or storefront that doesn’t have a Twitter bird on it.

Twitter caught the attention of one person that night, and with a social stage the next day, the buzz about Twitter spread and the curious started trying out this new way to communicate.

To think none of this would have happened if it hadn’t been for some left over t-shirts and key chains. The bird was born because a bunch of people gathered to mark a milestone (or gravestone) of ideas that never took flight.

 

 

 

Learn more about PROMOTIONAL PRODUCTS in our article archives.

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Why Promotional Products Make Great Impressions

There are three classifications for Eco-friendly products: Recycled, Recyclable and Re-Usable.

Almost all promotional products, with the exception of consumable foods, are Re-Usable products. Flash Drivesletter-openers and coffee mugs don’t come with an expiration date and can be used and reused by your customers for years.

Some products serve a specific purpose that tells your customer that you are an eco-friendly company. Tote bags, for instance, are an item that displays your brand on a product that eliminates the need for paper or plastic, and that creates a good feeling for many.

There are thousands of promotional products available that are made from recycled material, and even more that are made from materials that are recyclable.

Rarely do these items find their way into the trash if you give your customers thoughtful gifts that show you care about the environment. Printing the recycled logo alongside your company’s logo on a recycled gift shows your commitment to the environment and that always feels good.

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